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Interim hospital president to officially take helm

A rising UPMC administrator aims to get ahead of the curve by encouraging the growth of current employees while keeping standards high in the search for new talent.

Patti Jackson-Gehris will officially be named chief operating officer of UPMC in North Central Pennsylvania and president of UPMC Williamsport on Feb. 1, and she has some goals in mind.

Jackson-Gehris, who assumed the roles of interim chief operating officer of UPMC in North Central Pennsylvania and interim president of UPMC Williamsport last August, noted the expansion of services locally over the past six years.

She feels the time is now to “maximize the value UPMC brings to the region” with expansion of specialties in trauma, cancer, heart and vascular, orthopedics, and women’s services and with a goal to create an “exceptional and inclusive” patient experience with services easily accessed in the region.

“At UPMC, our strength lies in the daily work of our care providers and staff — they make the difference. Our culture sets us apart,” she stated. “Over the past two years, their resilience and determination has been inspirational, and in such turbulent and disruptive times, they’ve done whatever is necessary to ensure lifesaving, quality care remains accessible. I cannot thank our staff enough or emphasize how critical a role they play in our system and in our communities. To ensure UPMC remains competitive in the region and an employer of choice, I plan to focus on encouraging the growth and development of our current staff members, while also attracting new skilled staff and clinicians to the region. In doing so, our aim is to ensure that we’re positioned to continue our legacy of care through future generations.”

What sets UPMC apart is its community support with its sole purpose of serving the health care needs of people, she noted.

As a chief operating officer, her job is to oversee facility operations across UPMC’s north central region which includes five hospitals, physician practices, and outpatient care clinics.

“I aim to use this role to continue our efforts in being a part of the solution to all our communities needs because at the end of the day, the health and wellness of the region extends far beyond the walls of our facilities,” she said.

She sees her role as that of a leader “empowering our teams to continue the legacy of quality health care we are known for.”

She added that life-changing medicine occurs daily and her aim is to ensure services and care continue to evolve and grow to meet patient needs.

Steve Johnson, president of UPMC in North Central Pennsylvania, said Jackson-Gehris brings knowledge, years of experience, and strategic management skills to support UPMC growth in the region.

“It has been my honor to mentor Ms. Jackson-Gehris over the years and watch her rise from the marketing and strategic development side of our organization to hospital operations,” he said. “She has proven herself a driven and dynamic leader who can achieve success during the most challenging times.”

Jackson-Gehris previously worked in advertising and consulting firms with hospital and health care clients in the Philadelphia region and later served as a senior director of marketing and business development for Community Health Systems, Coatesville.

A graduate of Temple University, she holds a master’s degree in health care administration from St. Joseph’s University.

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